Avoid "Just the Facts, Ma'am" :: Communication Matters #002

My daughter has recently started playing the guitar. This is a tremendous joy for me, as I love playing guitar, and it’s a super cool way that she and I get to connect.

So imagine I tell her this: “Every day, go to your room and shut the door. For 5 minutes, play exercises to stretch out your left hand. For another 5 minutes, work on scales in different positions and then move to arpeggios. Then spend 10 minutes playing through one of your songs at 50% speed... no more. Every time you make a mistake, stop and correct the mistake.” And so on...

How’s that going to land? Remember, she’s 10 years old. Do you think she’ll even hear all of this?

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Brett McLaughlin
Explain it to Me Like I’m 5 :: Communication Matters #001

You’ve probably heard the expression as many times as I have: “Explain it to me like I’m a 5-year old!” Or sometimes, in a slightly different form: “We use an ‘explain it like I’m 5’ approach/philosophy/communication style.” It’s a wildly popular term, and it’s almost always translated into “Explain it to me very simply, as if I know nothing about which you’re talking.”

However, I find this to be an absolute misuse of the spirit of this phrase.

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